Council not willing to slam door on sani-station

Despite recommendation of staff, councillors see value in city-owned dumping facility

City council doesn’t want to close the door on re-establishing a sani-station, despite a suggestion from city staff that such a facility is unnecessary.

Jennifer Peters, the city’s utility manager, wrote in a report to council that it would likely cost the city between $200,000 and $400,000 for a lot large enough to accommodate a proper sani-station. She also wrote that since the 17th Avenue sani-station closed in the fall of 2013, the community has adapted to using other facilities in the area.

“Staff have identified that there is not an apparent need for this service to be provided by the city,” Peters wrote in the report which was before council at its Tuesday night meeting.

But council thought otherwise.

Coun. Larry Samson said he wouldn’t support staff’s recommended motion to not pursue the development of a city-owned sani-station.

“When we closed the 17th Avenue sani-dump it was under the understanding that staff and the council at the time go out and re-visit a proper sani-station to handle the recreational vehicles that visit in our city,” Samson said. “Currently, right now as we speak, there is only one sani-dump, or sani-station, in our city and that’s at the Shell station at Quinsam Crossing.

“We want to pride ourselves on being a community that invites tourism and invites people and their RVs or even the citizens that live here,” Samson added. “To allow this to further not meet the demand I think is wrong.”

Samson compared the situation to the neglect of the city’s public boat ramps.

“I think all we have to do is look at our boat ramps that we have let deteriorate and now we’re looking at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Big Rock (boat ramp), trying to bring it up to a standard,” said Samson who noted that the city does have options for pursuing a new sani-station while keeping costs down.

Coun. Charlie Cornfield agreed with Samson and said he too had his concerns with abandoning plans altogether for a sani-station.

“I don’t want to see this item drop off the agenda completely and perhaps we can hear back from staff on that,” Cornfield said.

The rest of council agreed and voted to have staff keep the door open on possible sites and partnerships to accommodate a sani-station.

Samson suggested the city partner with the Campbell River Indian Band and take a hard look at the sani-lift station by Home Depot.

“Can we not work something out with our neighbours to put in a proper sani-dump there and keep the tourism in the Campbellton and downtown cores, so that when they’re using the facility, they make purchases of gas, supplies, food, go out for lunch, shop,” Samson said. “To send them out to the (Quinsam) crossing, they’re just going to bypass Campbell River and I think that’s the wrong thing to do.”

Mayor Andy Adams agreed with Samson’s approach to partnering with the Wei Wai Kum and suggested there could also be an opportunity to work with the Wei Wai Kai.

“Looking at a partnership – I can’t help but think that would be in the best interest of the region,” Adams said.

Coun. Ron Kerr suggested that there may be an opportunity in the near future to develop a sani-station in tandem with other city projects coming down the line.

“We’ve got future projects happening in the city that may be an appropriate match for the sani-station,” Kerr said. “I think it would be a pity to move ahead with a stand-alone at this time without taking advantage of those future opportunities.

“I certainly don’t think it’s going to disappear off the table – I’m certainly going to push for it,” Kerr added. “I’ve got an RV and I think it’s important, but there’s future opportunities and I think we should wait for those.”